One of the most important bones of the body is the collar bone and its function is to secure our arms to our bodies by connecting the shoulder blade or scapula to the breastbone or sternum. Most of the strength and range of motion, which all of us expect from our shoulder joint, is possible largely due to the collar bone. Even a simple activity like raising the hands involves the use of the collar bone. Needless to say, any kind of injury to the collar bone can potentially take away a lot of strength and stability from your shoulder joint and remarkably reduce its range of motion. Collar bone fractures are particularly painful and debilitating. The collar bone being long is vulnerable to enduring a fracture is the middle. In rare cases, collar bone fractures might also occur at the inner third or outer third regions of the collar bone.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a case of collar bone fracture. The most common ones are:
- Any strong impact directly to the middle of the collar bone, which causes a fracture in the middle third region of the bone.
- Any strong impact to the breastbone or sternum, which causes an inner third collar bone fracture.
- Any strong impact on the side or top of the shoulder joint, which results in outer third collar bone fracture.
- Falls from a height or physical injuries can also cause the collar bone to fracture.
The usual symptoms which are found in people affected by collar bone fracture include swelling and a feeling of tenderness to touch at the affected region. Movement of the shoulder or arm usually results in acute pain and a significant amount of localized bruising can also be spotted. In severe cases, the collar bone might visually look deformed from the outside.
Diagnosis starts with a physical examination, accompanied with diagnostic tests like x-rays. With complete rest and effectively immobilization of the affected regions, healing can occur naturally over a period of time. Orthopedic doctors often tend to fully diagnose the problem by asking the patient about the history and nature of pain to determine the exact cause and severity of the problem.
For extreme cases, there can be a need to carry out express surgical repair. In these cases, the surgical procedure is followed by a period of targeted physical therapy to restore the range of motion.